In her first visit to the Markel/USEF Young Horse Dressage National Championships, Andrea Woodard (Wellington, Fla.) wowed the judges and won the FEI Six-Year-Old Preliminary Test on Ravenna, taking the lead in the Markel/USEF Young Horse Dressage National Championship Six-Year-Old division.
“I think it is quite challenging test requirements for the six-year-old,” said Woodard. “It is hard to get them to this place so young. So just to be able to actually get here and have the horses, being able to keep them in this frame, and this level of collection and obedience – I am very proud of my horse.” Woodard has partnered with her Oldenburg mare since 2014, when she purchased her in Germany as a three-year-old. The combination’s test earned high remarks from the judges, earning them a 7.9.
“It is wonderful to achieve the goals that you set, but on the other hand, if you feel like something happens that is disappointing, we all go home with the same horse and we all just keep moving on towards the next goal and the next level,” said Woodard. “We know where our horses are. I am just thrilled that she delivered a nice test for me today.”
Placing second with a score of 7.8, Werner Van Den Brande (Royal Palm Beach, Fla.) and Flyby FLF had balanced gaits, earning high praise from the judges on the combination’s future. This championship with Linda Sommer’s Hanoverian stallion is a special one for Van Den Brande.
“Ed Morrison passed away recently. He was supposed to be here with me, because that was the goal, to get [Flyby FLF] here and bring him to Chicago,” said Van Den Brande. “His wife is here – that is very special for the owner because we are old, good friends. To be second, even in the top three is great.”
After tying for second earlier in the day in the FEI Intermediate II Test (Developing Grand Prix), Bragdell also took third in the FEI Six-Year-Old Preliminary Test, riding Finery, Anne Howard’s Oldenburg stallion. The pair scored a 7.6 with strong marks in the walk and canter.
“I was quite thrilled with my horse,” said Bragdell. “He is owned by Anne Howard and she entrusted me to train him and show him… I thought when I was in the test, he gave it all…I have to give credit to my coach and trainer Morgan Thompson who has really helped us along the way and really made a big difference in the training.”
Titles will be awarded in the Developing Horse Prix St. Georges, Four-Year-Old, and Five-Year-Old divisions tomorrow, Saturday, August 26.